DIVE WITH A RESEARCHER: JOIN OUR TEAM THIS SUMMER!
DATES: June 21 – 28, 2009
Biodiversity & Reef Resiliency
Principal Investigator – Dr. Carrie Manfrino
Co-Investigator – Dr. David Gruber
Field Assistants, Claire Dell, CCMI Scientist in Residence
This Dive With A Researcher (DWAR) project will study the abundance of the major organisms that are competing with (and possibly out-competing) corals, such as tunicates, sponges, anemones, and fleshy algae using visual surveys and underwater photography techniques. We will work at depths between 60 – 100 ft where we currently have a limited amount of information but where coral growth may be thriving.
In most locations, it is impossible to disentangle the effects of over-fishing, declining coral health, climate change, and local pollution. Little Cayman offers a unique opportunity to explore the dynamics of a changing coral reef ecosystem in a remote location with minimal anthropogenic impact. Despite this remoteness, we have recorded major losses in the coral community of our shallow reefs. The good news is we are also recording major regeneration of our reef with juvenile corals being as abundant as they were prior to the major declines.
Join this Dive With A Researcher (DWAR) project and you will help scientists gather important information on an unexplored part of our reef to address major conservation concerns. The DWAR Biodiversity & Reef Resiliency project will address the following questions: Is the loss of corals resulting in detrimental effects on other components of the reef system? Are there changes in how the reef functions? Are marine reserves capable of protecting our coral reef biodiversity? Are corals at intermediate depths healthier than shallow corals because they are theoretically less impacted by increasing water temperatures and direct human impacts? Are these intermediate corals capable of replenishing our shallow reefs?
This project will document the abundance of the major organisms that are competing with (and possibly out-competing) corals, such as tunicates, sponges, anemones, and fleshy algae using visual surveys and underwater photography techniques at depths between 60 – 100 ft, which is a depth that we have not yet studied.
Advanced SCUBA divers will have the opportunity to (i) assist with surveys of bottom dwelling organisms using transects to detect long term changes in community structure and the effects of no-take Marine Parks, and (ii) surveys to document the diversity, abundance and habitat preferences of benthic species.
Your participation will not only help collect data but will also help fund important coral reef conservation efforts. Approximately 40% of your costs are tax deductible.
Maximum of 10 divers. Experienced divers only, please.
COST: $2300 (approximately 40% is tax deductible)